Thursday, November 15, 2012

Crowdsourcing for Branding.

I was reading a rather disturbing survey report, conducted by YouGov, which concluded that nearly half the customers (43%) don't think it is worth complaining after a bad experience and move to rival products, as they think that companies simply don't care.  This is a worrying trend from a brand engagement perspective.  Just think of it.  Products and brands are the lifeline of any organisation.  A lot of effort goes into coming up with a product with multiple teams within the organisation who work together.  No organisation can afford to lose customers in this manner.

The same survey revealed that customers would be more likely to give feedback if they receive a response (81%).  Also majority of customers (78%) were open to give feedback if there were rewards or some incentive offered for it.  Another interesting fact is that involving customers in innovation is found to fuel performance.  

While most brand managers are slowly adopting social media tools to listen and engage the customer in their product development process,  we observed following trends of using Crowdsourcing for branding.

1.  Customer feedback surveys giving way to crowdsourcing engagements - While customer feedback through surveys/interviews are established way of getting inputs, they tend to ‘lead’ the customer and thus you don't always get unbiased inputs. Surveys are also increasingly considered boring and you see most people try and avoid them.   Crowdsourcing engagement, on the other hand, is an open ended way of getting inputs and so tends to be more realistic in engaging users and capturing inputs which can be of real value for your company and eventually to end customers.

2.  Social Media tracking no longer only for  responding to customer complaints - but also for provoking responses which may not necessarily be complaints. Customers are much more vocal today and that has opened up the opportunity to involve them in building your products, service and eventually your brand. 
3.  Improve Brand Perception at much lower cost – In today's cluttered world, brand marketeers are finding it difficult to stand out. There is always a high possibility of someone else who spends more on advertising and steal focus from your campaign. Consumers have learned how to close their eyes and ears from constant bombardment of your ads.   Crowdsourcing campaigns offer an ideal platform for marketeers to improve their brand perception and stand out as a company which values customer inputs and preferences at a much lower cost.

4.  Develop customer base and lead users - Anybody who participates in a brand engagement initiative is very likely to develop into a customer for life, if the brand/company engages the user and values their inputs. There are many cross-sell/upsell opportunities if this group of participants are engaged and nurtured.